The Idle American: Uncle Mort and Horse Sense

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, November 1, 2017


   Uncle Mort and Horse Sense

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury


Horse sense–my 104-year-old Uncle Mort maintains–is much more than stable thinking. As a charter member of the “spit and whittle club” at the general store in the thicket, they weigh the world’s weightiest problems, often with wild abandon.

If only two geezers show up, arguments are common, but not much is settled. With three or more present, however, it’s a quorum.

Boiled down to the essence, they arrived at two major conclusions recently. First, they’re pretty sure Americans’ “up-tight” propensities–stemming from encounters with so many simultaneous problems–are like pendulums nearing the end of their arcs. They believe it’s time for the pendulums to swing toward a “down loose” stance.

Their other conclusion concerns the saber-rattling of North Korea’s “head man,” Kim Jong-un, who arrived at the vaunted perch by virtue of his birth. He’s the grandson of the “founding dictator,” and he has so many titles, printing all of them would require both sides of a business card.

Little is known about Kim. Even the date of his birth is questioned, with ballots split between Jan. 8, 1984, and July 5, 1984. He MAY have attended a western university under an assumed name, and he MAY have ordered the demise of many people—his relatives included–whom he believed to be out of step with his whims and foibles. There are many other “mays” in his resume, critical scrutiny of which began with his ascension to power in 2011.

Now, let’s get back to his “titles,” all of which are subject to change without notice. We’re likely missing some, but a quick perusal reveals that Kim Jong-un is: Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Chairman of the Military Commission, Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army and Presidium Member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

It stands to reason that he scares the bejeebers out of his 25 million subjects. And why wouldn’t they consider this tyrannical leader–his activities shrouded in secrecy–a bona fide lunatic?

What we’ve seen and heard so far is that he has an “honorary doctorate” from HELP University (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), holds conferences with basketball’s Dennis Rodman and visits his “royal barber”–the same one who cut Fred Flintstone’s hair years ago.

“What we’ve decided is that with all the noise he’s rattling, they’re liable to face a saber shortage shortly,” Mort said. “So far, we’re convinced he’s more bark than bite, and we think there’s a surefire way to know when North Korea has serious missile capabilities.”

Huh? How could we possibly know?

Mort says so many missiles have fizzled, the 33-year-old wizard has authorized yet another organization. Its hundreds of members gather at missile sites several hours before launching.

“Just before they light the fuse on missiles, workers start the engines of trash trucks, front-end loaders and street sweepers, ready to clean up the mess they expect to rain down a few seconds later,” he explained. “Don’t you know the sounds of those engines starting is encouraging to their nuclear scientists?” Mort joked. He says when the clean-up crew no longer shows up around the launch pad, we might assume that North Korea might be able to launch a missile to reach targets beyond its own zip code.”

Sometimes Mort and his friends share stories they pick up at Sunday school. They all laughed about the unfortunate answer provided by Modeen (not her real name) when her husband Ron (not his real moniker, either) was asked by a friend if he has a pacemaker.

Modeen and Roy have been married 62 years, and since her hearing is better, she often answers for both of ‘em.

“No, he’s had open-heart surgery, but he doesn’t have a pacemaker,” she volunteered. “If he did, I’d turn it up a few notches.”


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Comments/inquiries to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Website: